How listening to foreign languages can enrich your writing

Today, I read an interesting article today by Shoba Narayan, a journalist, columnist, content creator and author of four books. She has won a James Beard award and a Pulitzer Fellowship. Under the subtitle, “Metaphors that Reflect Culture“, I ponder upon her sentiments.

“Take a common metaphor in Tamil, often used to describe a person who went from rags to riches, and remains of good, even noble character: He is like a lotus flower that grows in slush. The lotus is the purest of flowers in Indian culture, so what is implied here is not just beauty, but character. In other words, this particular metaphor cannot apply to robber barons, even if they rose from rags to riches, because the assumption is that they used devious means to gain their wealth and status.”

One suggestion she gives to expand linguistic imagination is to consider phrases from foreign poems. She mentioned Pablo Neruda as an example,

“Infinitos suenos….suenos solitarios….”  What did it mean? I wasn’t sure. But my brain had put together the phrase as “infinitos solitarios,” or infinite solitude, sparking in me a certain kind of pathos. Infinite solitude conjured up mountains, midnight, defeat in love, death, the depths of the ocean. All these images were useful; they enriched the mood of my writing.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Sadje says:

    How interesting Sa. We can and do learn from other cultures and their literature.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. theresaly520 says:

      Thanks Sadje! I enjoy learning about all the various influences in a writer’s post. It’s fascinating seeing new ideas forming from them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadje says:

        Absolutely true

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Atif Hussain says:

    It’s an remarkable post designed for all the web users; they will get advantage from it I am sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. theresaly520 says:

      Thank you, Atif! Shoba has several insightful points.

      Like

  3. Thanks for taking time away from your writing to visit my blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. theresaly520 says:

      I somehow stumbled upon your blog today and really enjoyed it! The pleasure is mine!😊

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.